SUHAKAM-UNHCR Human Rights Workshop for Malaysian Immigration Officials
Malaysian Senior Immigration officials participated in a two-day workshop to gain greater understanding on issues related to human rights relating to the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees in Malaysia.
Kuala Lumpur, 26 February 2018 - Malaysian Senior Immigration officials participated in a two-day workshop to gain greater understanding on issues related to human rights, in particular relating to the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees in Malaysia.
36 senior officials from various divisions, including law enforcement and prosecution for immigration offences, policy and strategy, and management of the Immigration Detention Centres, attended the two-day workshop held in Putrajaya on 29 and 30 January 2018.
This was organized by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), with the support of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
This workshop, together with other activities related to alternatives to detention, was funded by the European Union as part of UNHCR’s global programme on preventing the detention of children and protecting children and asylum-seekers in detention.
During the workshop, participants actively engaged in dialogue around the refugee definition, information about the human rights situation in countries from which many refugees in Malaysia originate, UNHCR’s position on the detention of asylum-seekers and refugees, alternative to detention frameworks in other countries, and successful UNHCR refugee assistance programmes in Malaysia.
The workshop culminated in a visit and tour of the UNHCR Office in Kuala Lumpur. This allowed the participants to have first-hand insight into the process and procedures of registration, refugee status determination, - issuance of documentation, and other assistance programs and services provided to refugees in Malaysia.
It also provided an opportunity to further strengthen the understanding and relationship between UNHCR, SUHAKAM, and the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
This workshop is the first of several activities to be jointly undertaken by UNHCR and SUHAKAM in the period of 2017 - 2019. This is following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies in August 2017, aimed at strengthening and formalising their long-standing cooperation on human rights issues for asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons.
Given the impact of immigration detention in Malaysia on asylum-seekers, refugees, and stateless persons, Malaysia was chosen to be a focus country for UNHCR’s Global Strategy- Beyond Detention 2014 - 2019 – a strategy which aims to support Governments to make the detention of asylum-seekers an exceptional, rather than a routine, practice.
In line with UNHCR‘s national action plan on alternatives to detention and its MOU with SUHAKAM, UNHCR and SUHAKAM will undertake a range of advanced awareness-raising sessions on human rights and refugee protection with the Immigration Department in 2018, including with staff working in the Immigration Detention Centres.
For more information on the “Global Strategy – Beyond Detention 2014-2019” and UNHCR Malaysia’s work in this area please see: http://www.unhcr.org/en-my/detention.html